After a rough preseason and first half of the year, Eltham Collegians have earnt their first win of the 2018 season in style. Around the grounds, UHS-VU have won yet another battle against a stumbling Whitefriars side, dealing with mid-season troubles and slipping down the ladder. While the relegation battle is well and alive, it is the final four that are on display this week, with five teams fighting to fill only four spots. Will Whitefriars loss this week cost them come finals? Will MHSOB make the jump to fourth? Can a revitalised Eltham kick start their season and exit the relegation zone? Let’s see how Round 11 went down.
Eltham Collegians vs Emmaus St Leos
Eltham Collegians have finally pulled off their first win of the 2018 season, as they took down Emmaus St Leos by a gusty five points at their home ground Eltham College. What started as a low scoring affair, as both teams managed only four goals apiece up to half time, turned into a dominant third quarter for the Turtles, who, led by Fraser Cloney’s 4 majors, bagged five to hand themselves a handy 15-point lead going into the last term. However, the Animals had more to give as they held the Turtles to only one goal in the last and kicked two of their own, but fell short on the final siren. Eltham celebrated loud and proud as they finally add the much needed four points and percentage. For the winners, Darren Gaylard was awarded his first BOG honours, followed by a strong performance from Paul Vidinopoulos and John Macdonald.
Power House vs Yarra Old Grammarians
What looked to be a blow out soon became a close affair as The Raiders and the House battled it out in a soggy game at the Ross Gregory Oval, with the Bushrangers taking the four points. The Rangers got off to a comfortable start, kicking four goals to Power House’s two, but the House, led by Dec Nannery’s three majors, fought back in the second, levelling the scores at 46 all at the main break. The House’s defence stopped the onslaught of goals that the Yarra boys are known for, for three quarters, as the contest tightened going into the final term. The Rangers star and current competition leading goal kicker Rory Harbeck went down with a nasty dislocated finger in the third term and did not return to the field. While this was a temporary relief for the House, who came back to trail by only one point in the fourth, the Rangers showed why they are a force to be reckoned with, as they turned to David Wildsmith (3), Cody Johnson (2) and a spread of 10 more goal kickers who booted their team to a comfortable 26-point victory. Simon Yeo received the BOG award for Yarra, supported by Ryan Pollard. For Power House Adam Collett was strong, supported by Tal Sardone.
Bulleen Templestowe vs MHSOB
A fluctuating scoreboard has gone in favour of MHSOB, who, after an intense and close battle, came out on top against an improved Bulleen side, by 24 points. The lead was handed to the Unicorns in the first quarter, as they kicked four goals to the Bullants three. However, the Unicorns fast start was quickly shut down in the second term, with the Bullants only allowing Melbourne High to boot one major, while they strode ahead, kicking three goals to snag the lead by three points at halftime. Both sides defencive tactics tightened up in the third term, with little chance of goals slipping through. However, it was the defence from the Unicorns that held up and held the Bullants goalless in the second half, while they also booting five more goals of their own. Bulleen were disappointing after halftime, but Andrew Miller was their sides biggest leader on field. For the winners, Oscar Sargeant kicked two, while Bradley Jordan was named best on ground.
St Johns vs Old Paradians
St Johns have tested Old Paradians in what was an intense and exciting battle for two teams seemingly separate in skill level this season. Old Paradians, who won the contest by a slim four points worked hard all day to fight their way back into a game, that early on, was controlled by Bulleen. Led by Josh Mourant’s three goals, Bulleen held one of the top scoring sides of 2018 to only four majors up to halftime and shut down their fast pace intensity around the contest. But, the Raiders came out after halftime with a renewed approach and did what they do best, piling on five goals, headed by Michael Boundy (5) and slowing down the Bullants earlier domination, only allowing them to sneak one major before three quarter time. The fourth quarter told a story of its own as both sides defences tightened, as they had to stop high scoring from multiple outlets. Bulleen managed two goals and Old Paradians only one, but it was enough to hold on and take the four points in a game that they will need to improve on to stay on top of the table. Rob Valente was named best for the Raiders, while Bulleen’s Dan Cattolico was commended for his performance.
Whitefriars vs UHS-VU
UHS-VU have done it again and pulled off their second, hard-fought win this season against a deflated Whitefriars side by 33 points. Although only kicking one goal in the first quarter, to the Friars’ six, the Vultures proved that they are capable of turning the result around, coming back in the second term with five majors, putting themselves in prime position to close in on the Friars. The Friars, who are still one of the highest scoring teams in Division 2, struggled after halftime to pile on the forward pressure, as Uni High’s back men shut down any opportunity to intensify the scoreboard and create a closer battle. With the Friars unable to score a goal in the fourth, they ran out of legs as the Vultures kicked five more to boost their percentage and move further from third place on the ladder. UHS-VU’s Mr Consistency Brandon Jackson was the star of the show with five goals to his name. While on the other side it was the trusted Michael Nitas with three of his own. UHS-VU’s Tom Howard (1) was voted best on ground. For Whitefriars, who have now slipped to fourth on the ladder, Daniel Tibaldi was recognised as the best.
Emmaus St Leos vs Whitefriars
The Animals stooped to their eighth loss last week and are looking for redemption. Similarly, Whitefriars are hanging on to their top four spot with pressure from MHSOB who are looming. The Animals are teetering on the edge of relegation and safety, so this win is crucial to send them to sixth spot on the ladder and keep them clear of the bottom. The Friars on the other hand have gone through a rough patch in recent times and are desperate to cling onto fourth spot, with fear of dropping out of the top four for the first time this year. Could be a great physical battle, but it’s the side who can stop scoreboard pressure and dominate around the contest who will take the points.
UHS-VU vs Bulleen Templestowe
Bulleen Templestowe have clearly turned their 2018 season around and are now out the of relegation zone. They need this win as they could drop to seventh spot if other results go against them. The Vultures have made a major statement in 2018 and are sitting pretty in second spot and they’ll want to keep it that way. Jackson (UHS-VU) is in hot form at the moment and may be the key between a win and a loss for the Vultures.
Yarra Old Grammarians vs Eltham Collegians
Eltham are buzzing after their well-deserved first win last week and should be ready to come out fighting against Yarra Old Grammarians. As Power House tested Yarra last week, the Turtles should be able to do the same if they can pressure them around the ball and play contested footy, while stopping their varying outlets for goal kickers. If Eltham can string together four quarters, they have a good chance. The Bushrangers had a rocky start last week but will look to a smaller forward line to beat Eltham with pace if key forward Rory Harbeck doesn’t return.
Old Paradians vs Power House
Last time they met, the House tested a fit Raiders side, but fell short as the Raiders ran out the game in style as the House ran out of steam. Power House proved last week that at full strength, they are capable of creating some spectacular plays, however their main concern is their ability to run out full quarters. The Raiders had an uncomfortably close call against St Johns, but should be able to come back on top with their multiple outlets across the ground and ability to open the game up through impeccable midfield work and earn their 12thstraight win of 2018.
MHSOB vs St Johns
St Johns showed last week that they are able to keep up with the absolute best of the competition and against a middle of the table Melbourne High side, have the chance to capitalise on their momentum and earn the four points they desperately need. Melbourne High on the other hand are equal fourth but need a big win to add to their percentage and possibly replace Whitefriars in that all-important final four. This game will be a test for St Johns as they will want to run out a full game and not give up an inch in the fight to stay afloat in Division 2.